SEO Case Study: Month 12 Results

June 27, 2011 Posted by Tyler Cruz

I’m a few days late in posting this update.

While I’d love to attribute that due to being busy, the truth is that I was waiting to see if one of my sites would return from the Google sandbox, which it did. I simply felt a bit embarrassed about having to report that all my hard work waiting may have been for nothing.

While I was updating the title of this blog post, I realized for the first time that I’ve been working on my SEO (well, hiring others and waiting) for AN ENTIRE YEAR already.

While most of that time was from using a different SEO freelancer (who wasn’t very good), it still goes to show just how much of a waiting game SEO is, or can be.

I started these SEO case study reports back in November 2010, and provide monthly updates on how my various SEO campaigns are faring.

If you haven’t seen them already (or simply want to read previous reports in this case study), you can view the previous months here: Month 5, Month 6, Month 7, Month 8, Month 9, Month 10, and Month 11.

If you want to skip all the details and get straight to the results, scroll down to the last image, as it gives a fantastic overall summary of last month’s results.

SEO Firm Keywords

I’ve been using RankPay for 7 months now, using 2 keywords as a case study with them.

They weren’t the best 2 keywords to choose for a case study since they both have an extremely high search volume, totalling around 6 million EXACT searches on Google each month. However, since RankPay uses a performance-based system, charging you only once you rank in the top 30 (and tiered the higher you go), these 2 keywords were my best bargain.

Since the 2 keywords are so competitive, I didn’t expect to rank well for them for quite a while. And that seemed to be the case too, as it took about 5 months to hit the #100 mark.

But finally late last month, after RankPay requested I make a simple on-page SEO change, my rankings soared literally overnight, and they have been slowly continuing to improve ever since then.

Take a look at the 2 graphs for each keyword below:

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I am now currently ranked #32 and #50 on Google for these 2 keywords.

Normally, this would not be accompanied by a trumpet fanfare, but remember that both of these keywords are extremely competitive.

To prove my point, check out the screenshot from my Google Analytics account below:

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Those stats were taken from June 25th, and they show a total of 30 visitors from those 2 keywords.

Keep in mind that my keywords are on the bottom of the 4th and 5th search result pages. The 4th and 5th! People rarely go past the first page (1%), let alone to the 4th and 5th! Yet, I still received 30 clicks in 1 day as a result.

Can you imagine how much traffic that would grow to if I was on the 2nd or even 3rd page?

Now, to be fair, the bounce rate on both of these keywords is extremely high, but then again, I haven’t really prepared my site for those keywords either.

And since I am #32 and #50, it means that I STILL haven’t had to pay RankPay a single cent, since they only start charging you once you’re in the top 30. Basically, you pay for what you rank for, instead of just hiring a SEO freelancer or agency monthly and ‘hoping’ you’ll rank.

It’s because of this, and the fact that I AM starting to see results now, that I would recommend using RankPay to boost your keywords. My case study with them isn’t finished yet, but so far, so good.

I worked out a special deal with them, and so if you decide to sign up with them, be sure to use TYLERCRUZ as the promo code, as it will give you an instant $50 credit applied to your account.

New SEO Guy: 2 Months Later

In my my previous 2 SEO updates, I mentioned how my new SEO guy was doing absolutely awesome so far. His results were so awesome, in fact, that I was curious if he could keep it up.

Unfortunately, based on the past month, I saw quite a drop in rankings on my affiliate site (Ex. from 15 to 30). They also, mysteriously, dropped to the 800 range on Google for about a week, before returning to near-normal levels yesterday.

I’m sure that they’ll return 41 to 78, etc.). I’m sure they’ll return to where they were, but the point is that they didn’t improve.

In contrast, my 2 movie keywords improved slightly, from 24 to 19 and 24 to 21. Not the best increase, but considering the keywords and their current positions, it is satisfactory.

2 New Keywords

I hired my new SEO guy to work on another site for me, which I’ll refer to from hereon as affiliate site #2.

I have him targeting 2 keywords which are about medium in competition.

However, instead of paying him a monthly rate on these 2 keywords, I’m paying him on a performance-based structure similar to RankPay. What’s different, though, is that I only have to pay him a flat fee once each keywords is in the top 3 on Google, and then a small monthly fee each month thereafter to keep it up there.

Within days of starting, he already had me ranked #9 for one of the keywords, although it has since dropped down to #13. The other keyword is still stuck in the 300’s.

SEO Income

Since this case study series is beginning to collect more data, I am now displaying the SEO income from my affiliate site in a table format for easier viewing:

Month of SEO # of Leads Approximate Value
Month #6 5 $300
Month #7 1 $60
Month #8 2 $120
Month #9 5 $300
Month #10 5 $300
Month #11 4 $240
Month #12 1 $60

*Please note that since I don’t always publish these updates every 30-days exactly, that these numbers are a bit off due to overlapping, having a bit of a gap, and whatnot.

Ouch. What a horrible month! Only 1 lead, even though I had nearly 100 clicks to my offer. That is very abnormal behaviour, as my SEO traffic normally converts at around 10%. Strange and disappointing indeed.

I’ll just have to hope for better next month.

Month 12 Update

Please note that I am currently tracking 15 keywords across 3 different websites and search engines, so I won’t be able to focus on every single keyword, and will therefore focus only on the ones that show the most change (good or bad):

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Overview Chart

And last but not least, here is a very nice overview comparison chart of both of my sites from both 1 month ago and 6 months ago, as compared with today. I didn’t include the affiliate site #2 here since it has only been 1 month – I’ll include it on the next update.

I use RankTracker to track and graph all my keywords, and absolutely endorse it 100% if you want to do the same.

Quite a few of you have already purchased it based on my recommendation. Feel free to comment on what you think of it yourself.

Anyhow, here’s the overall change over the past 1 and 6 months:

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It is a bit disappointing seeing the drop in my affiliate site’s rankings, but I’m also pretty confident that they will return to where they were before. The question is if they’ll get out of the plateau and reach a new high.

While my movie keywords didn’t see the greatest improvement, I am starting to receive traffic from them. I’d really like to get on the first page for them.

That’s the update for now. I’ll have another one for you in another month from now, as I always do.

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Posted: June 27th, 2011 under SEO  

25 Responses to “SEO Case Study: Month 12 Results”

  1. wesley says:

    In my experience, you really don’t need SEO if you’ve got a good site… A good site will have people linking to it on their own accord, tweeting about it, posting it on facebook, etc.. Great content is all that is needed. The ranking will come on it’s own.

    Of course, if it’s a crappy affiliate site, then yes, this is part of the things you should be doing. But it’s been a year, and your ranking still isn’t quite good..

    What exactly are these SEO’s doing? Are you adding any new content to the site? That should be the nr 1 priority really. Make the site unique & big..

  2. In reply to the comment above. SEO is important even if you have a good site. I know people who have tried to not do SEO and it has crippled some sites. While their is good traffic, and the site is optimized, people may not be able to find the site, if proper SEO isn’t in place.

    • Jasmine says:

      I agree with you. Good content is the King, but SEO is still important to bring new targeted traffic to the site.

      • you are damn right, good content and proper on page is the way to go for seo

        • I agree and disagree with you guys. If you are looking to rank top ten in Google for a keyword then much more needs to be done than just quality content and SEO optimizing your site well. In third tier keywords, yes i do agree on fast ranking by providing quality keyword rich content and the proper SEO plugins..

          For the big boy keywords it comes down to a science that has to be raised like a just born baby…

          Just my two cents

      • Online games says:

        I agree with you Content is king but back links are there power so seo is must to have quality back links and being content a king it is always unique.

      • Quality of back links does matters a lot, Quantity does not matter. High pr back links are very effective.

  3. Have you did much research into how they achieving these goals. A few friends have used SEO services like this and I found that they were simply placing hundreds upon hundreds of text links on spammy blogs that had page rank of 1 or 2.

  4. You seem to need some strong in-links with high PR to lift your page in the SERP, send a mail to me and I give you a PR6 or PR7 do-follow link page for that.

  5. Pete says:

    Hi Tyler,

    Do you ever worry about the kind of practices that SEO companies might be resorting to in order to increase your rankings? Personally, I would not hire an SEO company to do any off-site SEO unless there was a lot of trust involved and I knew exactly what they were doing.

    It might be a good practice to keep an eye out on the backlinks going to your site. i.e. Go to Google and type “link:www.yoursite.com” every now and then to ensure that you aren’t being listed on any bad neighborhood sites.

    I’m not saying that your SEO person is doing anything shaddy, but it’s good to be a skeptic sometimes, especially for sites that you put a lot of time and hard work into.

    • revseo says:

      Pete,

      You are talking about bad neighborhoods and then suggesting to check your links via Google? You do know that Google doesn’t show crap for links when checking with that search query right? At the very least you should be checking links with Yahoo Site Explorer and not some Google search query. That’s basic SEO 101.

      Regardless, RankPay is 100% legit. With a performance based model they aren’t gonna blow it by linking from bad quality neighborhoods. Not to mention the fact that Tyler’s been posting reviews for a year and rankings have only gone up and up. Heck, do a search for rankpay and see what you find in Google.

      I’ve used RP for a variety of projects and have also had great results.

      • Paulymath says:

        The challenge I’ve had with them is that you have to learn how to pick the right type of keywords.

        If the keywords are not competitive enough, then you’re paying way too much for a keyword that doesn’t get that much traffic.

        However, if you pick a keyword that is too competitive, they get you to the #30 spot or #27 spot and you get stuck there for months – paying the monthly fee, but getting virtually ZERO traffic.

        I really wish they had a package where you were only charged for being in the TOP 10. I would pay MORE for each spot in the top 10 if they didn’t charge me for spots 11 – 30 which typically get very little traffic.

        Paying like $250/month to get like 5 visitors is very expensive, and also not knowing if you will EVER actually get past the #30 spot. I mean, they could just be doing a certain amount of work per keyword and that’s it… not really trying any harder for a more competitive keyword than a less competitive keyword. They could just get you in the #28 spot and then just keep you there for months, as long as you keep paying the monthly fee.

        I’m still trying them out for some keywords, but I haven’t had one that worked out profitably for me yet.

        • revseo says:

          Pauly –

          Sure that’s true but you also need to understand that RankPay runs a business as well. With their performance based model can you imagine the amount of scammers they’d have if they offered a Top 10 only package? That’d be putting up a tremendous amount of risk for a ton of reward.

          I do have to mention though that I like to mix RankPay in with other linkbuilding methods. I believe that RP builds a good solid foundation of links which helps me utilize other linkbuilding methods to really benefit from their service. Sure I may end up paying more since I’m helping increase my own rankings but in the end I’ve been pleased with my results.

          Are you performing any additional optimization yourself?

  6. LeSigh says:

    Sigh…

    Ignore all the fancy graphs, ignore all the silly sandbox talk and other stuff you’re spoon fed by SEO guys ripping you off and focus on one really simple thing:

    How much money have you made from your affiliate site in the last year?

    If the answer is a negative number (and I’ll bet you pie slices to dollars that it is), then why in the world are you still dicking around with this?

    Sell the affiliate site and move on. If you can demonstrate income and traffic you can get a decent amount for it.

    Put all that time you spend making pretty charts showing your movement from the fifth page of Google results (suckville) all the way up to the third page of Google results (still suckville) into areas of your business that make money.

    If you want to pull out of the tailspin you’re in you have to face the facts and act accordingly.

    If something isn’t making you money after a year, stop doing it. Easy as pie.

    • Paulymath says:

      Do you know how many business make no money in their first year and then later become ultra successful?

      Cutting off a project just because it hasn’t turned profitable after an arbitrary number like 1 year is not a very smart entrepreneurial move. I have worked on projects that made no money for 3-4 years, and then begun making millions a year.

      In my own affiliate marketing efforts in 2008 I made $0 during the whole year with a campaign. In fact I was losing money each month, losing less and less as the months progressed until I broke even in Dec 2008. Jan 2009 was my first month where I actually turned a profit and then went on to making tens of thousands of dollars in profit with that same campaign (on top of covering any losses from 2008).

      You can’t just give up on a project, just because it’s not profitable after 1 year.

      Also, think about this for a second. If Tyler gave up on affiliate marketing, do you think the affiliate networks would advertise on his Blog? He might not turn a profit on this particular campaign, but at least he’s documenting and talking about affiliate marketing and sharing his successes and failures for others to learn from. Because of this, he gets ad revenue on his Blog.

      • LeSigh says:

        Once again, Cupcake, you’re mixing apples and oranges.

        I never said that all businesses should shut down if they can’t show a profit after a year.

        I did indeed say that Tyler should abandon his efforts with his affiliate site after a year of trying and only a net loss to show for it. Because he should. Immediately.

        Tyler has zero interest in affiliate marketing. He’s expended zero personal effort in it. He’s made less than zero dollars.

        His affiliate marketing strategy and “business plan” consists solely of paying other people to improve his ranking in organic search results.

        Unfortunately Tyler doesn’t even know enough to question someone who tells him his year plus old site was “sandboxed”, nor enough to understand why he’s being taken for a ride by both his SEO “gurus”.

        You’re not standing up for him or defending him, Cupcake. All you’re doing is enabling him to continue the downward spiral of the last few years, as his revenue dwindles downward and he sells off the sites that actually made him a profit in past years.

        To give you some credit, you do have a point when you say that Tyler’s failures with his affiliate marketing efforts gives him the chance to spam readers with affiliate links for Rankpay and other programs.

        That’s absolutely valid, and if you include those affiliate commissions he might even be break-even with his affiliate marketing efforts.

        The only problem with that (and what you can’t see yourself) is that’s ultimately a zero-sum game. The more shrilly you hype crap like that the more you cannibalize and hamstring your audience.

        People tune out if all you do is tout crap. It’s why 90% of the comments on both your blogs are idiots who think they’re getting dofollow links for their thinly-veiled spam comments.

  7. Geert says:

    Tyler,

    I think some of the commenters don’t give you enough credit. I followed all your previous SEO posts and I do think you’re able to distinguish between good or bad SEO.
    From my own experiences I can say that it takes a lot of patience indeed, and it sometimes takes months to get good results, and that’s also what I tell friends when they ask me to do some SEO work for them.
    Your montly reports are really interesting and could put some people with their feet back on the ground if they where thinking to get result in an instant.
    I’m not sure if you’re willing to tell, but I’m really curious about the on-page changes that rankpay asked you to do exactly?
    And secondly, did you indeed add extra content to your sites? Or are these results only from on-page changes to existing pages and linkbuilding from your SEO guys?

  8. Jasmine says:

    Really interesting. Thanks for the sharing, I am learning hell lots from these SEO case studies! :)

  9. Cameron says:

    Wow that is amazing the results you were able to receive in your case study, I have been hearing much about how beneficial SEO is for a new site and to see it is taking at least 5 months to see results from your efforts people can really appreciate the hardwork involved.

    This is useful information, thanks for sharing!

  10. I really love Tyler SEO case study. I really love the SEO topic and your case study. That’s why I’m start to reading your blog. Thanks Tyler. Keep updating.

  11. That’s a pretty detailed analysis…wow!

PeerFly

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